Man Murders Pregnant Girlfriend in Hyogo

January 5, 2009

I’ve been waiting for this story to hit national headlines because it’s been a big deal here in Kansai, but it’s another story that would be international news if it happened anywhere else. Here it’s local.

I’ll give the story chronologically, and succinctly.

  • A woman’s body was found in a cooler box at a moving and transport company in Kobe on Christmas Eve.
  • It was determined that the woman was pregnant and due to have the child within a week.
  • Authorities determined the woman’s identity and that she had worked for the company part-time before becoming pregnant.
  • It was discovered that she had been in a relationship with a married man at the moving company, and that he’d been absent from work for the past few days.
  • A manhunt was organized for a heavyset man about five feet four inches tall.
  • On January 2nd, the man’s wife (some news sources say that they were separated) contacted police and reported that it seemed someone had been in her house.
  • The suspect, Fumiya Tanaka, was hiding in the drop ceiling on the second floor. Police determined that he entered with a key he still had from when he lived there.
  • The woman had been living with the man until the middle of November. She went missing around Christmas.
  • Family members told police that they had had difficulty getting in touch with her, and were told by Tanaka that they had an argument and she left.
  • The man claims he had been going from internet cafe to internet cafe, including time in a different prefecture before finally going to the home of his wife. Police are still asking his reasons for returning.

The man’s now in custody so we’ll see how the trial plays out. Sounds like your classic though. The sad news is that one of the last times the woman was seen she bought a Tamago Club magazine which is a magazine for new mothers. It sounds like she was looking forward to motherhood.

Another side note is that there are a lot of people on the internet bulletin boards who believe the wife was hiding him until he became violent again or something happened to make her want to turn him in.

We’ve had a lot of things going on here in the Kansai region that should be national news but are not for some reason. (Has the spate of taxi driver murders in Osaka made national papers yet, or the 5 gas station burglaries in which the perpetrators smash the pumps and take the cash in less than a minute?)

This murder and disposal of a pregnant woman at her due date, the subsequent week long manhunt, the capture in the ceiling of the home of his wife, may end up getting this guy the death penalty, but I haven’t seen much national (or English language coverage).


1 Dave January 5, 2009 at 11:29 am

You know this is something I’d be writing about on my blog if I’d have seen it. Should note that the Osaka taxi driver murders is on the main page of Japan Today, but it is the 2nd top crime story. Apparently a Waseda student stealing a woman’s underwear is a much bigger crime (surely that’s so commonplace it’s not worth reporting just yet).

It is very interesting to see what stories get reported in the national media though. At the moment we have the following stories as being some of the top ones on Japan Today:

Tent village volunteers pledge to continue aid efforts for unemployed
Waseda student arrested for stealing woman’s underwear in Nara
300 golf clubs stolen from shop in Osaka
Death row inmate dies of pneumonia

Have often wondered if it’s because if the extent of crimes was reported (and especially through more mainstream media like NHK News) then it would actually shock the public and make them realise that the society they live in is not the perfect bubble they perceive it to be.

2 jay January 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm

There’ve been a few crimes like this in the U.S. in recent years but they’ve been international news. I think this case is a pretty big deal. It seems like the guys original plan was to dispose of the body in a cooler box and try to get away with it.

It’s pretty sad. I wouldn’t have written about it if it were in the national news like it should be. We’ll see if the trial is a big deal. I am assuming it will be since the death penalty may be an issue… of course I’m sure there are even some death penalty cases here that remain local or at least somewhat media-silent.

Dave, if you hear anything about this in national news please write it up! People should know about this news (and maybe the taxi driver murders even more). The last taxi driver attacked by the way lived, so hopefully some more information will be coming soon. (I’ve heard a rumor that the taxi murderers were underaged kids.)

3 contraf15 January 6, 2009 at 1:12 am

It’s been all over the news here in Okinawa since the body was found – both national and local.

4 Dave January 6, 2009 at 1:56 am

contraf15 – Why would a woman murdered in Hyogo be in the local news in Okinawa?

5 contraf15 January 6, 2009 at 2:00 am

That would be a great question to ask the producers at RNC and OTV, which both carried the story.

6 contraf15 January 6, 2009 at 2:01 am

RBC, sorry.

7 Dave January 6, 2009 at 2:14 am

Are you sure you are not talking about the dismembered body that was found 2 weeks ago in Okinawa? That story seemed to have been mentioned once and then never talked about again (once again going back to that point you raised in the original blog post). It hasn’t been on local news or in the past 2 days as I’ve actually been watching it, not being at work. Not in the local newspapers either from what I’ve read.

8 contraf15 January 6, 2009 at 2:29 am

No, it was definitely the Hyogo story about the body in the warehouse. The last thing I saw about the body in Okinawa was on 22 Dec in the Ryukyu Shinpo:
Not a very common occurance down here, so it caught my attention but I haven’t heard anything else about it.

9 contraf15 January 6, 2009 at 2:31 am

Occurrence. I’m having heinous typing issues today.

10 jay January 6, 2009 at 2:45 am

The Okinawa story was in Japanese language news up here, but I haven’t seen it in English yet. The most recent big news out of Okinawa was the high school girl stabbing her father.

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